Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James and NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant are the top ballot choices in fan voting for the 2014 NBA All-Star Game announced Thursday.
James, who turns 29 on Monday, has the top vote total at 854,105 after guiding the Miami Heat to the NBA title the past two seasons. He is averaging 25.2 points a game this season as the Heat are off to a 22-6 start.
Durant is second overall and leading the Western Conference at 850,728 votes. He is averaging 28.1 points a game for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are level with Portland and Indiana for the NBA’s best record at 23-5.
The 63rd NBA All-Star Game will be played February 16 at New Orleans. Fan voting for the starting lineups ends January 20 and the starters for the Eastern and Western Conference will be revealed January 23.
James, Indiana’s Paul George with 712,808 votes and New York’s Carmelo Anthony at 580,795 own the Eastern Conference forward positions with Indiana’s Roy Hibbert a distant fourth on 304,829 and Miami’s Chris Bosh fifth on 222,861.
Miami’s Dwyane Wade leads the East guard voting at 565,455 with Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving in the other starting spot on 524,000.
Chicago’s Derrick Rose, out for the season with a knee injury, was a distant third on 299,950 with Washington’s John Wall fourth on 210,988.
In the West frontcourt, Durant was joined in starting spots by Houston’s Dwight Howard on 408,623 and Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers on 399,357.
Minnesota’s Kevin Love, the NBA’s top rebounder with 13.9 a game to 13.5 for Howard, was chasing Griffin on 377,941.
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers leads the West backcourt with 723,031 and Chris Paul of the Clippers was next on 533,647.
Golden State’s Stephen Curry was third on 481,698 with Asian-American star Jeremy Lin of Houston fourth on 358,725.